Friday, March 16, 2012


If you run in the same social media circles as me, you have probably seen my Facebook posts and links or the blog post I published earlier this week. You may be wondering what's going on with me. Quite honestly, I've been wondering the same thing. WHAT IS GOING ON?

This whole week, and for most of the past few months, I've been feeling challenged to consider where I stand with God and how deep my desire to follow Jesus really is.

I keep finding myself led to sections of scripture, conversations, situations, videos and podcasts that make me check my heart and priorities.

It is overwhelming.

Some days it's the good kind of overwhelming. Those days I feel incredible joy and excitement because I feel like I'm hearing the voice of God. I get all pumped up to take bold steps to get me closer to His will. I see other people more like I think Jesus sees them. I have so much love and hope.

But then there are the days when it's the hard kind of overwhelming. On those days I get wrapped up in how far I have yet to go. I stop looking at God and start looking inward. That's when I get frustrated with my own choices or the things other people do that rub me the wrong way. I dwell on my past and my current struggles.

In the end, though, it's all good. Both types of days help me grow. The fun times and the hard times do different things to refine me.

So, yes, I'm overwhelmed. Yes, sometimes it's good and sometimes it feels bad. But, every day is good because God is real and He loves me more than I can ever imagine. He gives me grace and mercy every day. He gives me hope. He teaches me. He disciplines me and rebuilds me.

I'd rather take the good and the bad with God than just the good without Him! So, I pray that the overwhelming days keep coming, even the ones that leave me feeling defeated.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

His Voice vs. My Emotions

I posted this on Facebook yesterday:

If I told you God asked me to GIVE (not sell) away my house and all my stuff, adopt a few kids and move to a neighborhood full of sin, what would you say? Don't just send me your Christian-on-Facebook reaction, really think about it and respond. 

The purpose of the post was two-fold: First, I wanted to start a conversation. Second, I wanted to see if I was the only one who thought the idea of giving away everything, adopting kids and moving was crazy.

Both purposes were met with a strong response by people who I deeply respect. The overwhelming response was, yes, you're crazy but if God really calls you to do it you better do it and we will rejoice with/for you.

The responses made me chuckle, think and pray. Here's some of my reactions to some of their responses:

Dustin Gill made me laugh when he said, "I'll take a free house."
Jan Griffey also got me laughing when she said, "I would ask you to continue the conversation."

I felt a need to pray after responses from my family members Kim Latson, Jen Kaplachinski and Liz Stoll. Leaving family behind would be one of the hardest parts of following a call like that.

One response, in particular, really got me thinking.

Becky Rassi, author of a fantastic blog, said this:

1. I'd say make sure it's God (and not Francis Chan) that asked you. Too often people make emotional decisions "in the name of God" and respond with emotion to a message God gave someone else. (even though God-decisions DO tend to have quite a bit of emotion involved.) I think if God gives Katie the same may not be Francis.
B. I'd say you already live in a neighborhood of sinners. Feed them all, have them over and have them help you pack if you really are supposed to move. 
R2D2. I'd say you better get to it if God said to do it...and then I'd laugh with you with at the craziness of it all - a laugh that comes from my toes, that is FULL of joy and mind-blowing awe...because I want to laugh daily at the craziness in my own life and PRAISE GOD when it's not boring, safe, and isolated. 

Based on a previous post, she quickly knew this video of Francis Chan, combined with a blog post from Jon Acuff, sparked my question. And just to clarify, the question was hypothetical. I don't think God is currently asking us to do any of the above. I do feel, however, that He has been asking this of me quite often lately, "What are you willing to give up to follow me?"

Becky lays out some great guidelines for discerning whether a call is really God's voice or my emotions. 

First, check with others who might be effected by the call. In this case, I would need to check with my wife Katie to see if she has heard the same call as me. If she has not seen the same blog post and video that I watched, then the chances are pretty good God is speaking to us.

Second, figure out what in your life would need to change to follow God's call. Yes, we already live in a neighborhood full of sin, and it starts in our own house. We all live among sinners because we all have sin in our lives. So, in this case, God might not be calling us OUT of our neighborhood, but INTO it. Maybe we need to get rid of our stuff and really engage in the people around us. Or, if the call is to a different place, then we better invest as much as possible into the people who live close to us while we still have time with them.

Third, don't hesitate! Get to it! If we've tested it and are convinced that this call is really from God, then GO! Before you have a chance to rationalize, count the cost, hear all the voices that will tell you you're crazy, come up with all kinds of reasons why you shouldn't do it ... JUST GO! When God calls, God provides! The safest place to be is right in the middle of God's will. It might not always be safe, as we think of safety, but it's God's safest and best place for us.

So, what am I willing to give up to follow God? What are YOU willing to give up?

Do the comforts of this world mean more to me/you than doing what God calls you to do?

Is the American Dream getting in the way of recklessly following Jesus?

Is family more important than the plan Jesus has for me/you?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

After 45 days of P90X ...

... I feel a lot stronger
... I feel a lot healthier
... I can definitely see a difference when I look in the mirror
... my muscles still get sore after certain workouts (esp. Yoga)
... working out in the morning is definitely the way to go, but it makes for a brutal schedule
... I have to find some kind of workout to keep me in shape after the 90 days is up
... I don't think I'd like to spend time with Tony Horton
... I wish I would have done this earlier
... my wife is a great workout partner
... I still believe 1 Timothy 4:8
... I would do it all over again